Tag Archives: Paramount Pictures

Cinema Dispatch: What Men Want

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What Men Want and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Adam Shankman

Despite its connection to a notably popular movie, I hadn’t heard a lot about this film until it finally decided to come out like a week ago.  Sure, I knew that they were making it and that the film was going to be gender flipped, but beyond that this is yet another film that completely flew under the radar for me which now that I think of it PROBABLY makes some amount of sense as it would have had to of been marketed in the last few months; i.e. Oscar season followed by a very crappy January for me.  So is this movie a hidden gem that I just didn’t give the time of day until it was staring me right in the face, or did this movie actually get shunted down the release schedule priority list to quietly slink away after a hopefully decent opening weekend?  Let’s find out!!

Ali Davis (Taraji P Henson) is a sports agent working out of Atlanta and is one of the rock star employees at her… firm?  Is that the right word?  Anyway, she consistently does great work for the company but FOR SOME REASON keeps getting looked over when it’s time to promote someone to partner, but she isn’t afraid of uphill battles gosh darn it!  If a woman has to work twice as hard to get half the credit, well she’s just gonna work TEN times as hard!  Her goal is to hire this up and coming hot shot basketball player named Jamal Barry (Shane Paul McGhie) who could be big for the firm but has a very demanding father Joe ‘Dolla’ Barry (Tracy Morgan) who is demanding and demeaning at almost every turn and making life a living heck for Ali.  Clearly she needs to relax and perhaps learn to get into the mind of men instead of just trying to compete with them, which fittingly enough would make her compete with them better!  Good thing she’s got a bachelorette party to go to where there JUST SO HAPPENS to be a psychic with magic tea that will let her hear men’s thoughts!  Well it was either that or the crushing blow to the head she received later that night, but the point is that she wakes up the next morning and is able to hear the thoughts of all the men around her; including her assistant Brandon (Josh Brener) who is the only person she’s willing to confide in regarding this new power.  At first it seems like a curse but now that she can get into Joe and Jamal’s head to find out what they really want; not to mention the men in her office who have been quietly scheming against her from day one.  Will Ali be able to close this deal and finally get the job she’s always deserved?  Just how far will she go to succeed, and how many people will she have to hurt along the way while using these new abilities?  You’d think there’d be a lot more dudes singing random songs in the movie, but I guess you’d then have to license them all.

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“Really?  Nothing but Ninja Sex Party songs going on up there?”

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Cinema Dispatch: Bumblebee

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Bumblebee and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Travis Knight

The thing about Transformers, at least for me, is that it’s only ever existed as the Michael Bay movies.  I never watched the original series, any of its spin-offs, and I’ve only played one of the games, so if nothing else this movie has a rather low bar to clear if it wants to be considered “good”.  Now that said, it’s got some heavy competition right now what with the new Spider-Man movie not just being GOOD but PHENOMENAL, and there are plenty of others out right now that this isn’t gonna stack favorably against if it’s ONLY trying to be better than what Bay was putting out.  Still, it’s got a lot going for it what with Hailee Steinfeld AND the recently launched into the mainstream John Cena filling out the cast along with the Laika animation guy stepping in for Bay this time around.  Does this prequel manage to take this tired and overblown franchise in a fresh new direction, or is the engine underneath it still the same despite the shiny new coat of paint?  Let’s find out!!

Back in the long ago days of the late eighties (when Sony Walkmans walked the Earth), the war for Cybertron was reaching its peak as the Decepticons had pushed the Autobot rebels off the planet with little hope of taking it back.  The leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), has tasked B-127 (Dylan O’Brien) with scouting a far off planet that may serve as their new base of operations so they can regroup and finally stop the Decepticons once and for all; a desperate plan to be sure, but its not like anyone else is coming up wit ha better one.  So B-127 speeds off to Earth but was followed by a Decepticon warrior!  Oh no!  The ensuing battle leaves the Decepticon dead, but it leaves a few humans worse for wear including Super Solider from Sector 7 Jack Burns (John Cena) as well as B-127 ending up heavily damaged (even losing his voice in the process) and… I guess robo-hibernates for some time to recharge his batteries.  Some time passes (not sure if it’s months or years) and B-127 is found in a junkyard by Charlie Watson (Haille Steinfeld) who takes him home and manages to get him running again.  He wakes up, shows himself to be a robot to Charlie albeit it with no memories which were all damaged in the fight, and… I think he accidentally sets off some sort of tracking beacon that two Decepticons (Angela Bassett and Justin Theroux) a few planets away seem to have heard which conveniently gives us antagonists to fight against in the third act.  Until then, Charlie names B-127 Bumblebee and tries to teach him how to blend in the human world while also taking him for joy rides, prank wars, and emotional character arcs for both her and her new robot buddy who’s not sure who he is or what his place in this strange world is.  Will Charlie and Bumblebee learn to deal with their traumas and find a new lease on life by beating up robots and taking bullies down a peg?  What will John Cena do when he finds out the robot that nearly killed him is still functional, and will it involve the Five Knuckle Shuffle?  Wait a minute… finding a robot in a junkyard that was meant to fight off a hostile alien force but got lost along the way… isn’t this the plot to Megas XLR?

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“Chicks dig giant Bumblebees!”     “Some of us do, Bee.  Some of us do.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Overlord

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Overlord and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Julius Avery

I know World War II movies are pretty common during Oscar Season, but I still don’t think the Academy is gonna be looking towards this movie once voting begins.  One of these days there’ll be a zombie movie that takes home the gold, but until then we’ll just have to make do with what we’ve got which in this case actually looks pretty darn good!  I mean sure I’m not the BIGGEST JJ Abrams fan, even when it comes to stuff that he’s only producing and not directing, but he managed to turn Star Wars and Star Trek into sold movies for contemporary audiences, so maybe his outfit can do the same for World War II occult movies of which there’s actually a lot more than you’d think!  Will this be the movie exceed everyone’s expectations despite its seemingly low brow premise, or is this another example of a great idea failing to live up to its absurd potential?  Let’s find out!!

Private Ed Boyce (Jovan Adepo) is not what you’d call a happy camper.  He was just some guy living his life in peace, presumably doing his part for the war effort, and then one day Uncle Sam tells him to stop buying War Bonds because he’s going to stab some Nazi bastards himself!  At least he MIGHT get to do that if the plane he’s on doesn’t get shot down before they even get to where they’re going, but what are the chances of THAT happening?  Actually a lot higher than you think which leads to him and a few other stragglers including Ford, Tibbet, and Chase (Wyatt Russell, John Magaro, and Iain De Caestecker) to complete their mission all on their own.  Said mission is to get to a French church that’s been overtaken by Nazis and destroy the radio tower that’s been constructed there which is causing problems for the Allies, and they need to do it on the double!  Along the way they meet a civilian named Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier) who lives in the occupied village next to the church wants to scalp Nazis as much as most of them do, and so they must work together if they are to not only shut down that tower but free her village from the bastards who just love to kidnap the villagers when they aren’t outright shooting them dead in the streets.  If that wasn’t bad enough however, rumors have been flying about what else the Nazis might be up to in that Church and it’s surely something these soldiers are not the least bit prepared to deal with on top of the neigh impossible mission they’ve been saddled with.  Can our heroes take down that tower and stop whatever is going on in that Church (*cough* zombies *cough*) before it’s too late?  Is Private Boyce prepared to do what’s necessary to complete the mission, or will he buckle under the pressure of what he’s being asked to do for his country?  Is JJ Abrams STILL trying to pull that whole “mystery box” shtick even when the premise is THIS obvious and telegraphed!?

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“Those aren’t zombies!  Those are Killer Klowns from outer space!  Welcome to the Killer Klown Extended Universe!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Mission: Impossible – Fallout

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Mission: Impossible – Fallout and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Christopher McQuarrie

Is it just me, or does it feel like a REALLY long time since the last one?  I don’t remember much about Rogue Nation except that I didn’t particularly like it (mostly due to how much I DID like Ghost Protocol), but that’s all in the past!  It’s time for Ethan Hun to go on a NEW mission and prove once again that Tom Cruise is a box office draw!  Well… most of the time at least (*cough* The Mummy *cough*), but hey!  At least they brought Superman in for this adventure!  This movie by the way is the reason Henry Cavill couldn’t shave his facial hair for the Justice League reshoots which led to the weird CG face issues, so if nothing else this movie deserves SOME credit for making that movie that much more hilarious!  Does this franchise manage to keep the momentum going for one more outing, or is the impossible mission now to keep audiences interest for yet entry?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) receiving a mission that, should he choose to accept it, could save the entire world for at least the sixth time but that the US government would obviously disavow if he got caught or murdered.  You know, you’d think that there might be some underlying geopolitical issues that could use some resolving if the US Government had to constantly send this dude on impossible missions that they couldn’t POSSIBLY claim to be a party to, but I guess a stable foreign policy doesn’t make for a particularly interesting spy film.  Anyway, it turns out that Solomon Lane (Same Harris) from the LAST movie had a whole bunch of followers known as THE APOSTLES who are wreaking hell all over the world and even created an outbreak of Smallpox in Kashmir seemingly for shits and giggles.  Their biggest plan yet is to get their hands on stolen Plutonium so they can make nuclear bombs, and while Ethan gets REALLY close to recovering them he ends up dropping the ball when his teammates Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames) almost get caught in the crossfire.  Determined to fix his mistakes, he’s assigned to go after a black market merchant known as THE WHITE WIDOW (Vanessa Kirby) who can broker a deal between the Apostles and a world famous terrorist that Ethan will pretend to be for the Plutonium.  Get Solomon Lane out of jail, and he gets the Plutonium.  Complicating matters are the Director of the CIA Erica Sloane (Angela Bassett) and her right hand man August (Henry Cavill) who don’t trust Ethan not to screw this up again, and even Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) who’s back in the picture but is once again not easily classified as a friend or foe in this situation.  Will Ethan be able to get the Plutonium back before the Apostles blow the heck out of city and start World War III?  Can Ethan just hand over such a dangerous terrorist in order to stop nuclear war, or could Solomon be planning something even worse?  Just how many ridiculous stunts can they convince Tom Cruise to do by telling him how youthful it makes him look!?

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“Let’s get his clone on standby just in case.  YOU’RE DOING GREAT, TOM!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Action Point

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Action Point and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Tim Kirkby

Johnny Knoxville doesn’t have what you’d call a STERLING FILMOGRAPHY with his most successful films being pseudo-documentary on shoe string budgets, but then again said movies are some serious box office smashes with the four Jackass movies (one through three and the offshoot Bad Grandpa) making  totaling over three hundred and fifty MILLION dollars!  Hell, despite the guy getting pretty much ZERO credit as a legitimate actor, he’s managed to find his way in some seriously high grossing blockbusters including Men in Black 2, the first reboot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, and even that crappy Dukes of Hazzard movie which raked in eighty freaking million; not to mention Skiptrace which he did with Jackie Chan that made a boat load in China!  I’ve always had a soft spot for the guy as a legitimate actor which may be due to my fascination with A Dirty Shame as well as the fact that I seem to be the ONLY person on the planet who sincerely likes Daltry Calhoun.  It also helps that I’ve never seen The Ringer which would probably put an indelible stain on my inexplicable appreciation for the guy because even in 2005 that seemed like a really bad call.  So much in fact that aside FROM the Jackass films, this is first film with a wide US release that he’s headlined since then (not gonna count the voice he did in the first TMNT movie) and it seems like even the studio is aware of how untested this guy is when he’s the face of something that requires a script and direction rather than a bunch of nut shots and Tasers because of how little marketing this thing got in the lead up to its release.  Does this manage to be a diamond in the rough that will finally launch Johnny Knoxville’s film career, or is this another failed start that will eventually lead to him making another Bad Grandpa movie that will in all honestly probably net him another hundred million dollars?  Let’s find out!!

Deshawn “DC” Crious (Phillip “Johnny Knoxville” Clapp) is the owner and operator of the absurdly unsafe and therefore absurdly fun amusement park known as Action Point, or at least Mr. DC WAS back in the seventies when things like “safety” and “regulations” were for pansies while breaking your arm was fixed with a fist full of mud and a forty of garbage beer!  It’s not the seventies anymore though as we see DC somehow managed to survive not only that decade but Regan, Y2K, and Bush Jr (SPOILER ALERT!) as he’s telling his granddaughter all about the great times he had running that place and the one summer her mother (Susan Yeagley as an adult and Eleanor Worthington-Cox as a teen) came to stay with him.  Yes, they’ll never forget that summer where they had stiff competition move nearby that was syphoning off most of their attendance while also being supported by local douchebag Mr. Knoblach (Dan Bakkedahl), but that only motivated them to get even MORE wild with the rides and skirt even MORE laws in the process!  Truly an idyllic time of their lives spent with good friends like Uncle Benny (Christ Pontius) and the rag tag group of teenage rascals who helped DC run the place (Bridgette Lundy-Paine, Johnny Pemberton, Conner McViker, Eric Manaka, and a few others who don’t have extensive IMDb credits).  Can DC do enough scheming to save the park from the greedy corporate fat cats?  Will this long protracted battle against common sense and sensible safety protocols get in the way of DC being a good father to Boogie?  Did you know that Johnny Knoxville’s eye almost popped out of his head during the filming of this!?  Seriously, what more does he have to do to prove himself to you people!?

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“ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?”     “Eh.  I’ve seen better.”

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Cinema Dispatch: A Quiet Place

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A Quiet Place and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by John Krasinski

We had quite a few good horror films last year like IT, Happy Death Day, and ESPECIALLY Get Out, but pickings have been a bit slim in the first third of 2018 with the only wide releases going to the fourth Insidious movie and the rather underwhelming Annihilation if you’d even want to count that.  THANK GOODNESS that Platinum Dunes has stepped up to the plate because they’ve ALWAYS made good movies, am I right!?  Okay, so the studio has a pretty shaky track record with some pretty awful remakes being their staple up until 2010, but they have gotten a bit better at picking movies what with The Purge series being under their banner and I even liked that Friday the 13th film they did, though I’m certainly in the minority on that one.  This movie at least has been getting some positive buzz despite what I feel what I thought were rather underwhelming trailers, so maybe the steady improvement of Platinum Dunes productions will continue unabated!  I mean as long as we forget about those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie… and the first Ouija movie.  ANYWAY, does this latest thriller with a unique premise manage to be all it’s cracked up to be, or will the silence in the theater be less due to enraptured awe and more due to straight up boredom?  Let’s find out!!

We begin this story in the near future where it seems that society has crumbled and the few remaining survivors are eking out a rather mundane existence as they try to avoid being hunted down by whatever it was that nearly wiped us all out.  What is hunting them exactly?  I don’t know, some sort of Silent Hill looking dudes with sharp claws that LOVE to slice and dice people whenever they can find them.  The key to their success however turns out to be some EXCELLENT hearing skills, so in order to survive in this world you need to stay QUIET!  At least the Abbott family has managed to make this new way of life work for them as Momma and Poppa (Emily Blunt and John Krasinski) have worked tirelessly to set up rules and precautions to protect their children and to keep their mouths shut!  Sure, they lost ONE kid, but they’ve still got two left who know not to make even the SMALLEST of sounds if they want to survive, and there’s even another kid on the way which SEEMS like a bad idea considering how hard it is to reasonably explain to a baby that they’re crying is not very helpful at the moment, but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there!  Anyway, the eldest kid Regan (Millicent Simmonds) is having trouble dealing with the death of her little brother which she blames herself for and on top of that is deaf herself which makes it easier for her to communicate without sound but means that things might be a bit more dangerous if she can’t hear any approaching threats.  At least she’s better equipped to handle what’s going on than her brother Marcus (Noah Jupe) who’s REALLY traumatized by everything that’s happened since the monsters came to town and spends most of his time being terrified about everything around him; not the MOST impracticable of positions to take, but it does cause some friction between him and his dad when he has trouble letting go of his fears to focus on the basic survival tasks at hand.  So with one kid feeling guilty, another one scared of his own shadow, and a third one threatening to come out of their mother in the very near future, things may not be sustainable for that much longer no matter how much Super Dad tries to keep things firmly within his grasp.  Can this family survive this terrifying threat for as long as it takes for someone to figure out how to destroy these creatures once and for all?  Will they find a way to successfully have this baby and raise it without attracting the attention of the creatures that have the super strong hearing and extremely deadly claws?  Seriously, how have you guys survived THIS long if knocking something over is enough to get these creatures to come a knocking!?

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“…”

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Cinema Dispatch: Annihilation

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Annihilation and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Alex Garland

So apparently Paramount wanted to bury this thing for some reason?  I mean… I guess it WORKED considered I never heard of this until the week before it came out.  I go to movies all the time, and I never saw ONE trailer for this thing despite starring some PRETTY big names right now!  Now this is hardly the first time that a studio had lost complete faith in the movie they had made, and it’s not always a sign that the movie is bad (*cough* Brazil *cough*), but it STILL is a bit worrying as studios are loath to just throw money away; especially on projects that seem to have had THIS much star power both in front of and behind the camera.  Does this offbeat science fiction film manage to shine through despite the studio doing everything it could to keep it out of the public eye, or was Paramount trying to save us from something that we were better off just forgetting it even existed?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the story of Lena (Natalie Portman), told slightly out of order, where she went head first into a unique biome of alien origin that I like to call The Rainbow World and tried to reach its center to destroy it from within!  Okay, now that I’m writing this down, it’s possible that a bit more context is needed.  To rewind a bit here, about three years before the movie starts a meteorite smashes into a small coastal town and starts doing… something.  It basically creates its own isolated environment with a clear delineation between EARTH WORLD and ALIEN WORLD in the form of a shimmer; almost like an opaque curtain in the shape of a dome.  The US government seems to have gotten there right away and have been sending people into the strange place to find out what is going on, but no one has ever returned… until now!  Lena’s husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) is a military Black Ops guy (I think) and was sent on a MYSTERIOUS mission about a year ago and suddenly returns home right as the movie starts; albeit looking rather disheveled and coughing up a worrisome amount of blood.  The government weren’t too far behind him though and put him in a quarantine to study what’s happened to his physiology after being exposed to the alien biome, but they’re probably gonna have to work fast; lest this become an autopsy because his condition is getting worse.  Lena is brought into the loop at this point and is told about THE SHIMMER (I still think it looks more like a Rainbow World); promting her to suit up, grab a gun, and join the next expedition which is in less than a week.  Now if that sounds a bit silly, don’t worry!  She was in the military as well, so she knows how to handle herself and use a gun.  In fact, compared to the rest of the crew which includes a paramedic (Gina Rodriguez), a geologist (Tuva Novotny), a physicist (Tessa Thompson), and a psychologist (Jennifer Jason Leigh), she’s practically a god send as I doubt the rest of them would last a full day in there without her.  So the day is set, the inexplicable rag tag crew gathers their courage, and they walk into THE SHIMMER with one goal in mind; get to the center and destroy whatever it is that’s causing this.  Will Lena survive the harsh environment that nearly took her husband’s life, and will the secret to his illness lie within?  What is motivating the rest of these women to go into this place that even trained soldiers couldn’t manage to overcome?  Was this really the best we could muster after three years of failed attempts?  They couldn’t even be given gas masks or motor bikes?

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“Before we go in, does anyone need to use the bathroom?  Speak now or forever hold your pee.”

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